Sunday, October 20, 2019

Charles Shutt creates 'Tecumseh' + 5 Other Interesting Lehighton Legionaires

You hear it at every home game at Lehighton for about 50 years.  It fires a 10-gauge blank shotgun shell and reverberates throughout the entire Mahoning Valley and all through town and across the river into Franklin Township.
A 1980 picture of Shutt with Tecumseh.

It was purchased by Lehighton’s Charles B. Shutt.  Shutt was a WWI veteran and former commander of Lehighton Legion Post #314.

Shutt became fatherless as a young boy of 10 years old.  His mother had to become a live-in house servant to the Begal family in Mahoning Valley. 
Less than 2 years before his death, Shutt was honored by Legion
Post #314.

Shutt first worked at the New Jersey Zinc company before he served at the end of the war.  In the 1920s he ran a confection shop on Second Street but later became an accountant for Bethlehem Steel Corporation. 

Perhaps it was his upbringing without a father, Charles Shutt did much to make sure the youth of Lehighton had help growing up. 

He was a local pioneer in developing Boy Scout Programs in the area, securing funding for the Troop 81 at All Saints Episcopal Church from James I. Blakslee.  He and his wife also ran the Lehighton Youth Center in the 1940s and 1950s.

As for Tecumseh, Shutt got the idea from attending an Army-Navy football game.  He purchased the cannon in the early 1960s for $15.  Lehighton football games wouldn’t be the same without the thunder from this gun.  Except for a short-time restriction by Principal Daniel I. Farren, the gun has not missed a game in over 50 years.

Shutt passed away in August 1985.  By then, Lehighton native “Slats” Wentz took hold of the rip cord.  In recent years the firing is conducted by former Lehighton Mayor Don Rehrig.

You can find dedicated volunteers in every town in America.  Lehighton is no different.  Recently, the following individuals were highlighted at the 100th Anniversary ceremony of Legion Post #314 in September.  These people dedicated their unique talent and energies toward making our town and country a better place.
March 1960

Thomas Hamlet Hontz
He was a founding member of the Legion back in 1919.

Hontz married Lillian Shoemaker who was the kid sister of William W Shoemaker, the first Lehighton soldier killed in the first war (4 August 1918).
August 1936 Graver Bathing Casino -
Evelyn Ripkey (who had a beauty shop in Lehighton for many
years) was crowned "Miss Carbon County," Hontz, Helen
Tyson "Miss Mahoning," and Betty Smith.  Not pictured
was Dorothy Beers crowned "Miss Lehighton."

It was Hontz who first made the motion to rename the Legion post after Walter Haydt.  Haydt died when his B-24 Liberator was lost near Australia.

It was an altogether fitting tribute that Shoemaker’s brother-in-law would be the one to explain and encourage the name change of Post 314 to the Shoemaker-Haydt Post in memory of Walter Haydt.

Mary Kennedy Bayer

Not All Members of the Last Man’s Club Were MEN!

Mary Kennedy was from Mauch Chunk. 

She and was among the first 20 women from the States along with the first 100 from Canada to join the British Expeditionary Forces early in the war, a full year before the U.S. entered. 

Frank Bayer Sr from town was wounded in his left leg and right arm at Meuse-Argonne the last month of the war, his 7th over there.

Mary became his nurse.

They fell in love and married in France.

Mary and Frank joined the Last Mans Club (LMC) together.  She became VP of the club.  She was honored in the 1941 Armistice Day Parade.  And when she died in 1948, Frank Sr took over as VP.

Their son Frank Jr was a member of the WWII Club.  He died just a few years ago.

Frank Bayer Sr and William Shoemaker were among the first group of men sent off on 21 September 1917.

Lewis Dunbar
Lewis Dunbar started a confection store in the Lehighton Heights after WWI.  He was well known as a kind and cheery fellow and a friend to many.  He later achieved Lehighton immortality starting Dunbar Bottling, at one time where "Dance With Kim" is located at South Fourth St and currently along the bypass in Lehighton.
Lewie Dunbar's ad in the 1931 Lehighton yearbook.

But in 1935, national newspapers picked up on a story of Lewis serving in WWI while he attended the state Legion convention in Wilkes-Barre.  The headlines proclaimed him to be the “fattest WWI Legionnaire.”

At the time, Dunbar was only 63” tall, but 65" around!

Dunbar wanted to serve in WWI in the worst way.  But because of his short stature and large weight, he should have never been allowed in the military.  He stood only 5’3”...he was one inch to short to be drafted.

When WWI broke out, he was married and living in Ohio.
He wanted to join in the worst way.

But he was rejected at the recruiting station.

He didn’t give up.

He hung around DAY AFTER DAY...for WEEKS.

Finally, the commanding officer asked his staff who the fat man was hanging around the office.

When they told him, his story, he ordered them to sign him up. 
The reason?

Let me Quote: “His mirthful spirit and good humor” will do wonders for morale of the other men.

Lewie was fond of retelling how he walked around the first weeks of training camp at Fort Lee Virginia, without pants because the army had none with a big enough waist band.

But even though he was rounder than he was tall and should never have served, Dunbar did his part to serve his country.

4-Star General Bert A. David.
Founder Bert B. David also had a son named Bert.  Bert A. David became Major General Bert A. David.  Graduate of West Point, fought in Japan, fought in Korea, and 3 campaigns in Vietnam.  Silver Star. Legion of Merit with two oak clusters.  Bronze Star.  

Be sure to schedule a visit to Legion Post #314 to view the display cases in the entryway into the main hall.  David’s medals, pictures, and other information is on display.

George Harmon
If you can recall Bert B. David’s words on this Legion and his comrades being a tolerant group of men, one member of the WWI LMC was George Harmon.

George Harmon came here from Delaware and opened a shoemaker’s shop.  He instantly immersed himself in giving his time to civic duties.  Besides being an active Legionnaire, he was a firefighter, coached youth baseball for seven years, and along with Wilbur Warner, did everything he could to help get the Hospital up and running, and served in many volunteer capacities there.

When South First Street burned in December 1955, he stayed up all night working the dispatcher radio coordinating emergency services. 

And the 1955 flood of Weissport - He secured leather donations and worked around the clock making 100 pairs of shoes, for free, to help the victims.

And even though Harmon served with the segregated troops of WWI, he came to Lehighton to become one of our most integrated and selfless citizens.

His wife Sarah moved here from Philadelphia.  They married at Fire Company #2 and held their banquet at the Legion.  The entire WWI LMC was there.

And though never a rich man in money, even in death he kept giving.  Both he and his wife donated their bodies to Philadelphia Medical Colleges for research.

1950s WWI Last Man Dinner - George Hamon, front left of the picture, legs and arms crossed.

Wilbur Warner and Charles Shutt - January 1950

Wilbur Warner - This article does not mention one of Lehighton's greatest volunteer and civic leaders of all time.  His body of work is too large and needs his own story.  He was a WWI veteran and early leader of the Last Mans Club.  He was postmaster, spearheaded the construction of our new post office, borough hall, and Fire House #1.  He was instrumental in the creation of the Gnaden Huetten Hospital.

Legion Menu from 1948:

Lehighton's 1966 Centennial - in conjunction with Legion District Convention:
You can follow the unique parade route that the following pictures took, beginning and ending at the Legion Post #314.  You can read all the district Legion Posts and their number on the edge of the page.

National Legion Convention in Miami Florida October 1948 - My dad, Randy Rabenold, was a young Marine Corps recruit.  He was a member of the Marine Corps Band and they were called down to march in the parade.  In his letter, he wrote how they played "Hail to the Chief" for President Truman and his daughter.  He said Harry walked within 10 feet of him.

1980s UVO Color-guard - Randy Rabenold (sunglasses, left) and Porky Hunsicker, Sergeant at Arms, center.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

100th Anniversary of American Legion Post #314

15 September 1919 to 2019
American Legion Post #314, Lehighton turned one hundred on Sunday 15 September 2019.  A day before Congress officially sanctioned the national charter.
Commemorative 100 Years of
the American Legion challenge coin
were given to the honored
guests by Harry Wynn.

So it was fitting that Post #314 held a dinner and program to reflect on the impact of what 100 years of Legionism has done for our community as well as honor some of our longest serving Legionnaires.

~Be sure to check back soon for a look at Post #314's  6 Interesting Members" to be posted later this week.

~Be sure to check back for future posts regarding transcripts from WWI and WWII Last Mans Clubs

~Inquiries may be directed to

Three World War II veterans were on hand to receive recognition from both the local and state level of the organization but also from Senators Casey and Toomey, State Senator Yudichak and State Rep Doyle Heffley.

WWII veterans recognized were Asher Repsher, a former dairy farmer from Ashfield.  Chester "Chet" Frantz, born in Summit Hill and currently of Tamaqua, who served in the 100th Infantry Division and Marvin Barry Sr., father of Major General Marvin Barry II.
The Opening Prayer - Commander Kevin "Spike" Long

Harry Wynn served as M.C. and directed the color guard to post colors followed by the Star Spangled Banner, the Pledge of Allegiance, and an opening prayer by Kevin "Spike" Long. 

After honoring the guests, a 15-minute presentation was given by Ron Rabenold, which delved into the unique impact and the critical role the men and women of Post #314 have played within our community for the past 100 years. 

"As an associate member of this Legion as a Son of the American Legion, I am proud to have been asked to speak to you today on this most significant occasion of celebrating 100 years of American Legion," Rabenold said.

"Preserving our Democracy is the sole goal of our American Legion.  That has not changed in the hundred years since its inception.  Our Democracy was here before any of us.  It was a gift from generations past.  It is inconceivable to squander such a gift."
Back of coin. 

The program ended with the benediction from Long, the firing squad offering a salute to the fallen, taps by Henry Long Senior, and the retrieving of the colors with Roger Diehl as Sergeant-at-Arms.

At the closing the Legion staff and volunteers served a delicious home-made meatloaf, ham, potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, salad, and a marble cake.  It was a fine day of Lehighton fellowship and appreciation, an important day to recognize an organization as integral to our town's life blood as any.

For God and Country - The closing prayer by Commander Long.

Miss Mary Kennedy of Mauch Chunk went
to France to find the man she'd marry
Frank Bayer of Lehighton.  Mary was among
the first 20 women in the U.S. to sign up
for the British Expeditionary Forces before
the U.S. formally entered.  She was an
operating room nurse and the only
female member of Legion Post #314
Last Man Club.  She was Vice President
of the Club and its 10th member of 72 to die.
Mary Bayer was selected as one of 5 Unique
Members of Post #314's History.  
To Read About All 5, CLICK HERE.

Frank Bayer Senior the day before
his wedding in France.  He was wounded
in the right arm and left leg at Muese-
Argonne in October 1918 after being
overseas for seven months. 
The Bayers had a well-known
paint and wallpaper business in Lehighton

For a transcript of Rabenold's "5 Unique People of Post #314" click here.  There were five people, with distinctly different and varied talents, who embodied the ideals of being a Legionnaire.

Lehighton's Bert David and the National Legion - Paris, Spring 1919 - 

Rabenold went onto say:

"It was Spring in Paris.
The First Great War had just ended.
But our service personal didn’t leave because they saw an opportunity.
They had one more job to do.

And before coming home, one thousand members of the American Expeditionary Forces formed a caucus to establish something larger than themselves.
Teddy Roosevelt Jr was at the center of this movement and a true Legionnaire.
He fought in WWI.
And even though he had severe arthritis, he landed on Utah Beach as a Brigadier General, with a cane.
Just like his father, Teddy was the real deal.
Many of the Legion’s patriotic and non-partisan ideals came from him.

I think it is extremely important for us to realize the mission of the American Legion –
Allow me to read some of the Legions key ideals –

For God and country - 
To foster and perpetuate Americanism,
To preserve memories of the great wars,
To inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state, and nation;
To combat autocracy of both the classes and the masses;
To make right the master of might;
To promote peace and good will on earth,
To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom, and democracy;
To consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.

These were the founding ideals.
Much of it brought about because of Teddy Roosevelt Jr.

It is here that I’d like to draw your attention – Because what Roosevelt was to the national charter,
It was Lehighton’s Bert B. David who did the same here. 
Bert B. David, WWI Vet and Lehighton educator and Superintendent,
Didn’t just see these ideals, he embodied them, and
he saw to it that they were infused into our community...

He was the driving force behind the establishment of our local Post."

Legion Post Community Involvement - 

At the heart of the ideals of American Legionism is patriotism and looking after each other.  And as an overarching consequence of that is strong community involvement.

Until there was WWI and Last Man Wilbur Warner, it seemed as though Lehighton would never have a community hospital of its own. Warner seemingly willed this to happen on his own will power alone.  He raised over $750,000 for the project and Post #314 came up with $5,000 of it. (That would spend like $52,000 today.  Warner was also able to secure a grant from S. S. Kresge, founder of Kmart, for $100,000.  Kresge was born in Kresgeville.)  

In August 1936 the Legion hosted a swimming carnival at Graver's Bathing Casino.  It included swimming races and a penny scramble.  They also held a "Bathing Beauty" contest.  The contest served as a qualifier for the Miss Anthracite Pageant which was a qualifier for the state pageant in Pittsburgh.  The state winner would go to Atlantic City that September.  The local winners that year are pictured with Legion Commander Lee H. Hontz.
Evelyn Ripkey (who had a beauty shop in Lehighton for many
years) was crowned "Miss Carbon County," Hontz, Helen
Tyson "Miss Mahoning," and Betty Smith.  Not pictured
was Dorothy Beers crowned "Miss Lehighton."

Nat Hyde's Orchestra played for the dance that night.  Lehighton swim winners: Ardith Ruth (1st - under 12, 30 yard), Ann Humphries (2nd - under 14, 30 yard), June Snyder (2nd - under 18, 30 yard and 2nd - open, 50 yard).  Diving was won by Minnie Hill and John VanHorn of Lehighton.  In boys diving it was Alton Kistler with 1st with a second for John Goldbach.  Russell Jones of Weissport (1st - under 12, 30 yard), Paul Miner (2nd - under 12, 30 yard), John Heller of Weissport (1st - under 14, 30 yard), Bill Humphries (2nd - under 14, 30 yard), Percy Slick (1st - under 18, 30 yard and 2nd - open, 50 yard), and Ernest Bowman (2nd - under 18, 30 yard).

The official starter was beloved Lehighton teacher Albert Dominico.  Judges were Marion Bock, Lewis Ginder (another Lehighton icon), and also Dominico. 

Post #314 also was the sole sponsor and coordinator of Lehighton's annual Halloween Parade up into the 1950s.  The post also makes Lehighton's annual Memorial Day services possible.  And by way of Americanism and Patriotism, the post has held Pearl Harbor and 9/11 Ceremonies as well. The Hometown Heroes banner program is also facilitated by the Legion.  Oratory and essay contests for all ages of school children also occur each year through their efforts.
15 June 1940 - What role did this program have in
creating the contributing citizen Chet Frantz became?  

Do Americanism projects have an impact on building patriotic citizens?  When WWII Veteran Chet Frantz, mentioned earlier, was a young boy scout living in Summit Hill, he took part in his communities Flag Day ceremony.  When Ron Rabenold was in High School, he competed in the VFW's "Voice of Democracy" oratory contest, leading him to speak at his first Memorial Day services in 1985.  Rabenold is a frequent speaker at Memorial Day services and at other civic occasions.   

Years before the Legion Home was complete, the first WWI First Man Club
Dinners were in the dining hall of Mrs. Cora Person's "New Fort Allen Hotel."
Cora was the mother of WWI veteran Wilbur Person, a well-known insurance
agent on First St Lehighton known for his framed Currier and Ives prints on
the walls.  Wilbur's son Wilbur was a veteran of the Vietnam Era and the
original office is still intact, run by grandson William Person today.

Rabenold's closing remarks - 

"So there you have it. 
All of them, each one, were truly unique. 
Different people.
Different walks of life.
Differing amounts of privilege.
Different talents.
Different color, different gender.

But one set of ideals.  Ideals of the American Legion.
They embodied the variety that makes America strong.

They pledged to help their fellow man in disaster, in sickness, in their time of passing.
They pledged to promote civics and patriotism, they hold essay and oratory contests.
They pledged to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom, and democracy;

Painfully and soon, we will say goodbye to the last WWII veteran.
And then, the sorrow will be repeated for the last Korean veteran.

And finally, the last Vietnam Vet. 
And so on...

To Legionnaires of Post #314 gathered here today...
You are the posterity of the founders 100 years ago.

It gives me great pleasure to inform you, that truly,
You all, are most worthy, and loyal...
And you have fulfilled your obligations of devotion and duty to the highest degree.

None of the rest of us can do enough to thank you.

God Bless you.
May God Bless us all.
What you’ve given to America and to Lehighton can never be repaid to you."


One unique feature of Post #314 are the four "Last Man's Clubs," one from WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

Here are a few excerpts from a some of their annual dinners.

WWI LMC - Bert B David was the 11th WWI Last Man to pass away.  Forty-five members paid farewell; Wilbur Person gave the Eulogy Sept 27 1948; Last Man David attended the first meeting of their club on Nov 12, 1938 and was the speaker at that meeting; At second meeting 1939 gave the Toast to Living: May each one be the last one, May no one be the first one, to the living;
He never missed an annual meeting; at one talk, he said General Perhsing was an Elk and perhaps that is why it was called for 11:00 on Nov 11.  

Bert was the 11th Last Man to pass on to eternal rest.
4years as Legion Commander; Lover of Longfellow’s Psalm of Life – 7th verse: 

"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And departing leave behind us
Foot prints on the sands of Time.”

Bert’s motto could have been “service above self” for he was a fighter, he never quit trying to make his community a better place to live in.

Minutes from both the WWI and WWII Last Mans Clubs will be posted in a future post.
If you have any questions please contact

The 'Last Mans Club' (LMC) for WWI did not gets its start until November 12th, 1938, nearly twenty years after the war.  Only 72 members joined and saw their membership through until the end.  (If a member lapsed in their dues, 50 cents a year, they were dropped from the rolls.  At least 5 to 10 members were dropped over the years.)  Even so, counting 72 members, twenty years from the war, it seemed that at first, the WWI Club saw fewer members pass on than did the WWII LMC.  Below here find the original typed funeral service for LMC Members for WWII.  Not the chaplain wrote and crossed out names upon the succession of deaths.  These names here represent the first six men of WWII.

But something to keep in mind is, these are only the men who joined the LMC.  There are numerous men in the area who returned home without joining the Legion.  And some of these men died in unfortunate and tragic ways.

Seeking mental health services was frowned upon in the society of that time.  The entire perspective of the field has changed and even though medicines and techniques have improved, the level of care in those days was rather bleak, in addition to the reticence of these men to seek help.

(Let the reader be reminded in this era one could be involuntarily committed.  Getting some one "locked up" was sometimes more of a punitive than therapeutic measure.  A perusal of the papers of the time can find certain vice crimes were deemed as "perversion" and often these offenders were committed to state psychiatric facilities.  Thus there being such a strong stigma attached to seeking care that many died by way of a variety of self destructive ways.)

We recognize the destructiveness of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder today (PTSD).  It's hard to imagine the struggles our men carried in that era.  Service personal come home today with a myriad of struggles.  Lehighton is proud of them all and we as a community should grieve for the sacrifcies both on the battlefield and for those who lost their fight in the war they brought home with them (See the Michael Wargo monument along the bypass or read this tribute to him here.)

Page 1 of the Last Mans Club of World War Two - 1948
avid Reiner of Parryville was painting a building on his
property when he fell off the ladder and broke his neck
becoming the LMC's first member to pass away in June 1948.
He was followed by Delphin Crowley (1950), Noel Gombert (1951),
Darryl Beisel (1951), James Koons (1953), and George Setar (1954).
Born in 1927, Beisel was young for WWII.  After the war he graduated
from University of Maine as a Forester.  Working in the woods
of Quebec, he was crushed between a truck and a piece of logging
Page 2 of the WWII Last Man Club Prayer Service dating from 1948.

27 July 1945 - Green's death preceded
Monk's by less than two weeks.  See the end
of this article for full account.

Even though he was a member of Shoemaker-Haydt Post #314, Milton Green (a brother to Mary Green, wife of Herman Ahner) he apparently did not join the LMC.  Green's death is most certainly a tragic accident.  One friend and pallbearer of Green was Levi Monk who died from a fall from an old bridge several nights later.  

9 August 1945 - Morning Call - Headlines like these were nearly weekly occurrences in the years right after the war.  How much influence did PTSD symptoms have is anyone's guess.  A pre-occupied mind certainly can be a contributing factor in accidental deaths, particularly in the jobs many veterans found themselves working after the war: the railroad, mines, Bethlehem Steel, etc.
Complete article of both Monk's and Green's deaths appear at the bottom of this article. 

Alcohol appears to have been a factor in Monk's death.  It stands to reason that alcohol related and other deaths of recently returned veterans could at least in part be blamed on clouded judgment impaired by potential PTSD symptoms they could have been suffering.  The weight of impact that PTSD could have played in some GI deaths is simply unknowable.  (It appears neither Monk nor Green were members of the LMC).

Not surprising, the two page prayer service
above was stapled to a thin piece of color
card-stock advertising Neuweiler's (of
Allentown) latest beer selections.

The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.

Wounded one in Italy and twice in Germany, Charles Yenser of Mahoning
and Post #314 member was interviewed for Veterans Day 1999.
Eventually, Yenser rose to the rank of Colonel with the PA National Guard
and helped fete Major General Bert A. David at the Lehighton Elks in
1972.  The picture here is from the Morning Call article written by
David Venditta and can be viewed by clicking this link.

Yenser passed away three months later.  His son Denny was a
combat chopper pilot in Vietnam.
The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.

Lloyd Arnold - WWI and WWII Veteran

Lloyd Arnold loved the radio.  He was a radio operator in France during the First War and in 1922 served as a radio specialist on a submarine and also during the Second War.  He was Lehighton's only member of both Last Mans Clubs and he was the third last survivor of the WWI club.  He passed away 15 November 1984 at the age of 86.  At his death, he was the oldest member out of 6,684 members of the U.S. Submarine Veterans Association.  He was the 70th of 72 members of the WWI club.
Lloyd Arnold worked the radio
in both WWI and WWII, serving
on a sub as early as 1922.

New Hall Dedication - 27 December 1945
Carbon County Judge James McCready said the new auditorium "represents Democracy at work."  He said it was well-planned and made a reality by some "smart" people.  It measured 40 x 90 with high vaulted ceilings.

World War I - Last Mans Club 

The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.

12th Annual -World War I Last Mans Club Dinner - November 12th, 1949
One distinguishing visual between the WWI and WWII LMC was their uniforms.  The WWI club bought club uniforms early in their forming.  By the 12th annual here, many are also seen in civilian suits.  This dinner was held in Post #314's Dining Hall before the present day bar was constructed there.  You can see the current bathroom doors on the wall and distinctive support beams above.  Unfortunately George Harmon, second from right in fore ground, is the only verified person in this picture.  George was well known in town for his many civic contributions.  There were 55 members present and President Wilbur Person called the meeting to order at 6:48 PM.  The pledge of this WWI as well as the WWII meetings went as follows: "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the country for which it stands, Our Last Man's Club to the end, With liberty and justice to all."  There are several slight differences between this and its current form.  "Under God, indivisible" were added in 1954.  It is not known why the clubs chose "and to the country" when all flag codes at that time were using "nation."  Continuing the tradition started at the New Fort Allen Hotel meals, the men ate a "delicious turkey dinner prepared by the staff of the American Legion."  This is the first LMC Dinner without its sole female member Mrs. Mary Kennedy Bayer.  The flowers were donated by the WWII LMC and the WWI club reciprocated for their December banquet.  It is certain that Lehighton's LMCs were rather rare.  The speaker this year was former state Legion Commander Charles S. Cook.  He said, "This is the first time I was ever a guest or present at a Last Man's Club meeting."   He was impressed with the meeting and in particular  the fireplace service when the glasses of the departed members are smashed.  Last Man Clarence Hahn sang "Face to Face" and "A Glad Prayer" which were "enjoyed by all."  The club made $22.31 profit from the 1948 banquet and earned $2.39 interest on their balance of $137.30.  It was noted that one person gave a $1.00 donation.  After spending $18 for the WWII LMC's flowers, the group had exactly $145 going forward. 
The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.

Undated WWI LMC Dinner - Appears to be in the former dining room of Post #314 and is Pre-1948 for the fact that Bert B. David, center in civilian suit, died on 24 September 1948.  To his right is Wilbur Warner.  Standing behind Warner is Mahlon Kistler Sr.  And behind him looking off to his right is Frank Bayer Sr.  The doors behind the men look like the doors leading to the large dining room. 
The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.
34th Annual Officers from 1971.  President Wilbur Person is left.  Even into 1971, with all the changes to the national pledge allegiance in place as they are today, the LMCs still said the pledge as follows: "I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, And to the COUNTRY for which it stands, Our Last Man's Club to the end, with Liberty and Justice for all."  Last Man James G. Smith gave the Toast to the Dead, Last Man Raymond J. Rex gave the Toast to the Sick.  Last MAn Wilbur Person went to the fireplace and broke glasses for: Jay Dreisbach (7/22/70), Robert C. Semmel (7/7/70), and Mark Zellner (5/31/70).  Apparently the club recognized them from most recent to less.  LMC Chaplain was Raymond J. Rex, Secretary Arthur F. Everett, and Herman Lewis was Treasurer.  It appears Frank Bayer took over his wife's duties as Vice President.  As was the normal custom, the group closed with "God Bless America" and the members then held hands "forming a continuous chain" and sang two stanzas of Blest Be the Tie That Binds."  A list of all members present: George Acker, Leon B. Arner, Lloyd Arner, Charles Bauschpies, Frank Bayer, Al J. Evans, Charles Gerber, Arthur F. Everett, Clarence Hahn, Allen J. Fritch, Floyd Harleman, Mahlon Kistler, Floyd Kromer, Herman Lewis, Allen S. Mertz, Wilbur Person, William E. Reigel, Raymond J. Rex, James G. Smith, Raymond C. Smith, and Joseph Vanage.
The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.
WWI LMC sometime in the 1950s - George Harmon is front center left facing the camera.  In  1947 he gave the toast to the living.  In the 1940s, he coached a youth baseball team for seven years.  He also helped pioneer the early days of Lehighton's famed Soap Box Derbies.  Originally from Delaware, born to a father who made a living as a "coachman," Harmon never left the states in WWI.  He served as a mechanic in the segregated 2nd Company of the 154th Development Battalion at Fort Meade, Maryland.  George was forever working on something both in his shoe repair shop or with the Fire Company or volunteering at the hospital.  He was once quoted saying, "The only time I don't work is when I'm lazy, and this isn't very often."  When it was his time to marry, the Legion Post hosted his wedding part after services were held on the second floor of Fire Co. No. 2.  His wife Sarah moved here from Philadelphia.  An active firefighter in his early years, Harmon spent the night of  the devastating fire of December 1955, directing emergency services via radio dispatch.  "It was a great experience.  The religion, color or creed of the man behind the desk didn't matter.  We all had a job and we did it."  He work around the clock and did not charge a single cent after the 1955 flood making nearly 100 pair of shoes for the victims in Weissport. In 1955, suffering from diabetes, Harmon became deathly sick and spent 30 days in the hospital he helped create.  Nearly destitute, the community came together (under the leadership of Wilbur Warner) to take care of Harmon's bills.  Sarah died in 1959 and George followed in 1960.  However, do not look for their graves.  "I'm giving my body after death for research is my way of squaring my debt."  George's body went to Penn's medical school and Sarah's went to Jefferson's, both of Philadelphia.
The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.
Lehighton's WWI Last Mans Club was enough of a
state-wide oddity for the Gettysburg Times to pick up
this Associated Press article describing how the bottle of
Cognac is stored in the safety deposit vault during the
year but retrieved for each year's meeting.  The fact that
the club's purpose is explained in this detail shows
the club's regimen is rather rare.

How valuable was Harmon to his Fire Company?  Members paid
tribute to him in a 1950s Halloween parade to show just how many hats
he was willing to wear.  He kept the float sign as a fond reminder seen here
looking at it from an August 1958 Morning Call article on him.

World War II - Last Mans Club - 

1st Annual Last Mans Club Dinner - December 7, 1946
At this point, no member of the club had passed away.

LAST CALL - This was the final letter urging any eligible members to join the Last Mans Club
of WWII.  Opening the membership was brought up at subsequent meetings but after the
deadline above, no new members were ever accepted as near as can be certain.

Marked "1947" which would make it the "2nd Annual - December 7, 1947"
However, the club didn't experienced its first loss until 29 June 1948.  David W. Reiner of Parryville broke his
neck from a fall from a ladder while painting a building at his home.  Therefore, this is probably either the 3rd  or 4th Annual in 1948 or 1949 by virtue of the "1" on the floral hanging on the mantle.  Since the photo below also has a "1" on it and is marked "1948," this photo could be from 1949. 

3rd Annual - December 7,1948
The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.
"4th Annual - December 7, 1949" - It is marked "1949," however the is no discernible number on the wall hanging on the mantle.  If so, that could make this one 1947, the 2nd Annual.

The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.

4th Annual Dinner - December 7, 1949

George "Yix" I. LaRose, Secretary-Treasurer; Arthur Webb, First Vice President; Michael Markovitz, National Legion Rehabilitation Officer; Richard Evans, Toast to Living; Donald "Jack" Anthony, President (shaking hands with Markovitz); Edward Knappenberger, Toastmaster and Norman Benner, Toast to the Dead.  The portrait of William W. Shoemaker, the Post's WWI namesake, looks on from the back.  Markovitz urged the veterans to fight for "a fair adjusted compensation" in PA, with 4 million WWI and 18 million WWII veterans, "we have more power than we realize."  Lloyd Arnold was presented a gift from President Anthony for being the only member with dual membership in both the WWI and WWII Clubs.  By a standing vote of 67-50, a motion was defeated to open the membership up for one year.  NOTE - The #1 on the floral hanging on the wall signifies they had one departed comrade, David W. Reiner who fell off a ladder in 1948.

The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.

6th Annual - December 7, 1951 - This one appears to be marked correctly, as the club did lose four members by 1951: David Reiner (1948), Delphin Crowley (1950), Noel Gombert (1951), and Darryl Beisel (1951).

The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.

December 1949 - Markovitz, Evans, Anthony, and Benner.
7th Annual - December 7, 1952 
In a dark suit and light tie, middle of the bar, standing near the seated man with glasses
and bowtie is Atty Bill Bayer.
The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.

8th Annual - December 7, 1953 - This is the last group picture of this club found in the binders assembled by
Past Commander ('82-'83) Carlos Teets around 2010. 
The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.

In terms of 1953 buying power, the $2.50 would spend like $22.45 today.
Gas was 22 cents a gallon and a loaf of bread was 16 cents.  Average income
was $4,011 and the average house was $8,200.
The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.  

9 August 1945 - Morning Call
27 July 1945 - Morning Call - Milton Green was the brother-in-law to Herman Ahner, one of the craftsman who built the Legion Hall.


Citations Presented on 15 September 2019 - 

As always, when Mayor Clark Ritter gives a proclamation, he gives it in a nice frame. 
One of many ways Clark continues to give back to his community. 
We are fortunate to have such a good man as he.


Originally the first trustees of Lehighton's Legion purchased the home at 205 North Second Street.  However, by 1928, James I. Blakslee, a major Lehighton benefactor, had passed away before realizing his goal of establishing a hospital in Lehighton.  His widow Henrietta wished to donate it to the Legionnaires to make their homestead.  After $4,000 in renovations the home pretty much remained the same until the new addition was added in 1945.  Here is what the original home looks like today:

The Lehighton Legion Post #314 turns 100 this 19 September.